Record breaker Durant guides US to Olympics basketball knockouts

Kevin Durant of the United States in action against Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic at the Saitama Super Arena, Saitama July 31, 2021. — Reuters pic
Kevin Durant of the United States in action against Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic at the Saitama Super Arena, Saitama July 31, 2021. — Reuters pic

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SAITAMA, Aug 1 — Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum turned on the style as the US men's basketball team eventually shook off the Czech Republic to win 119-84 to reach the Olympic knockout phase Saturday.

Boston Celtics star Tatum scored 27 points and Brooklyn Nets forward Durant hit 23 points in a win that sent Gregg Popovich's team into the quarter-finals.

The combative Czechs were just four points behind at half-time in Saitama, but Durant upped the tempo in the second half.

During the game Durant took two records from Carmelo Anthony, becoming both the US Olympic men's all-time points and all-time field goals leader.

Having lost their opening game to France — the first US men's basketball loss at an Olympics since Athens in 2004 — the victory against the Czechs guaranteed that the Americans will avoid any of the three group winners until at least the semi-finals.

They finished second behind France in Group A after the French eased past Iran 79-62 to seal top spot.

The draw for the quarter-final stage will be made on Sunday. — AFP

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